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John Binks

John Binks, born 1766, was a lead miner and keen botanist who lived in or near Teesdale, County Durham.

Although chiefly noted now for having influenced the young James Backhouse (3), taking him on plant-hunting expeditions in Teesdale, he had a substantial enough reputation on his own account to be mentioned almost 30 years after his death. Richard Spruce's paper presented to the Botanical Society at Edinburgh on 11th January 1844 refers to a few of the plants that Binks discovered and recorded in Teesdale:

'it is little more than thirty years since "old Binks, the miner," discovered Gentiana verna...he and his friend the late Mr. Oliver of Middleton shortly afterwards added the no less rare Saxifraga Hirculus; and within the space of a few years they had become acquainted with nearly every flowering-plant and fern known to grow in Teesdale at the present day.'


Davis, Peter. “Backhouse family (per. c.1770–1945).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. < > [accessed 14 January 2009]

Spruce, Richard, 'The Musci and Hepaticae of Teesdale' in The Annals and Magazine of Natural History Including Zoology, Botany and Geology..., Volume 13 (R. and J.E. Taylor, London, 1844), p.191.